Georgia-Florida has no enemies in ‘RV City’

Parking at RV City costs $600 regardless of whether you arrive on a Tuesday or park on a Saturday morning. It’s also $80 per car, of which the Walls have two. Their RVs sell for about $115,000, including all the extra toys they’ve added over the years.

While the Walls’ view of the colorful scene around the stadium is second to none, they’d rather be placed in the middle rather than right next to the road.

“It’s noisy,” she said, “and sometimes people throw things.”

This usually happens after the match. That doesn’t begin until Saturday at 3:30 p.m., when the No. 1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 SEC) and the unranked Florida Gators (4-3, 1-3) renew their rivalry. 101. time. Teams play in this general area by the St. Johns for 90 years and almost continuously since 1933.

But for the people of RV, the football competition plays only a small role in their party. For them, it’s all about socializing and having fun.

“We love it,” said Nancy Hayes (yes, her first name is also Nancy). “We’ve been coming since 2014. That’s when they (the Walls) took us under their wing and taught us their ways. We do everything the same as them, except for the colors.”

No polling booths in RV City need to be thrown up to gauge how these people feel about the future of Georgia-Florida. The debate over whether the game should be changed to a home-and-home series rather than being played at a neutral site like Jacksonville is an annual topic. However, it seems to have reached a critical mass point here recently.

The contract between the two state universities and the city of Jacksonville expires after next year’s game, although there is an option to extend it through 2025. Meanwhile, Georgia coach Kirby Smart has made it known that he would prefer the game to return to the respective campuses. NCAA rules prevent schools from hosting recruits at a neutral game, which Smart believes puts football programs at a disadvantage compared to other SEC teams.

Of course, Smart just led the Bulldogs to a national championship and their average national recruiting rating over the last five years is 2.3. But that’s Smart’s story, and he’s sticking to it.

The current arrangement between the schools and Jacksonville is very lucrative. Each of them will walk away with somewhere between $2 million and $3.5 million without having to pay to run the game every other year.

But change is in the wind in the SEC. The conference is expanding to add Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 in 2025. As a result, the league is expected to end divisional play and increase the number of teams from eight to nine SEC games per year.

Depending on how it shakes out — the conference is still up for grabs — all of the traditional rivalry games are on the line. I don’t mind games on neutral sites. Oklahoma and Texas also play one of those annually in Dallas.

If SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey is listening, the fine folks at RV City would beg to keep the Georgia-Florida game where it always has been.

“Oh, yes, it must be in Jacksonville,” said Nancy Hayes, as her husband, Marshall, joined in with present and hearty approval. “It’s always been there, and that’s where you know all about it.” It wouldn’t be the same to play somewhere else.”

The Walls are grizzled veterans of the group. Now retired as civilian employees for the Air Force Reserves, they have been coming here every year since the late 1980s.

They’d rather keep things the way they are, but as long as Smart leads his Bulldogs to national championships, they’re fine with whatever the future holds.

“We’ll go where it’s at,” Wall said. “We’re going to Atlanta, we’re going to Athens, we’re going to wherever they play it. But I don’t know that anyone else can provide such accommodation and parking. The city of Jacksonville does a really good job for us and we appreciate that.”

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